3/23/2010

Some thoughts on living simply

Especially since having Ethan, I've really noticed that we just don't live like most people. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Actually, I think most folks have their priorities really jacked up. I wonder what people must be thinking when they buy their 6-year-old a laptop. Or have a television in every room of their house (including the bathroom). Or buy massive houses for just 2 or 3 people. Or are struggling to make rent, but buy a new car. I just don't get it.

Because of my job, I have contact with people from all walks of life. I see all manner of screwed up things. I see folks living in filth, in a rented single-wide trailer that is falling apart, who have big screen TVs and a hoopdie with $5000 rims and tires parked outside. I see $300K homes without any furniture and dog poo all over the carpets, and the owners are wearing designer clothes and driving a new Lexus. I've talked to people who keep the price tags on their clothes so that they can show others how much they paid for them. It's nuts.

Since moving to the Prairie Box, I've thought a lot about the necessary amount of living space for 2-3 people. Our entire house, including the finished portion of the basement, is smaller than some people's garages. My living room is the size of a kitchen in a new house. Our bedroom is smaller than many people's bathrooms. And it's plenty for us. I would much rather have a smaller home with character than a large, cookie-cutter house. I can't say I don't want to have an impressive house. I do. But I'd like my home to impress people, not because of how large or expensive it is, but because of how cozy and inviting it feels. I want a home, not a house.

I want to be free from debt. I want to teach my son to be responsible with money, to be patient and wait until he can afford something (meaning to pay cash) before he buys it. To learn that delayed gratification is a good thing. That's something I still struggle with. But as of right now, we owe less than $5000 on our car and my student loan combined. And we'll pay everything off before the end of the year. It's a good feeling, folks.

I want to homestead. I want to know that my food was grown without pesticides and chemical inputs that can harm us. I want Ethan to know how veggies are grown and chickens raised. To watch my plants grow and teach my child that food is a gift. God gave us the sun, and from the sun, we can grow plants to sustain us. Also from plants, we can raise animals to eat. And the animals fertilize the earth and help more plants to grow. It's a beautiful self-sustaining cycle.

I want time more than money. Time to cook. To watch the stars. To take walks and hikes. To vacation. To see shows, hear symphonies, visit museums.
We only get to do this once...


Life is about priorities. What are yours?

5 comments:

Nadja and Sean said...

Thanks for the post. I was just thinking about these very same things today, and it's so nice to see others say them out loud too. I want more time than money. What a concept that so many people just don't get. We must be kindred spirits, b/c we live in a four-square (and i am working on homesteading) too! :)

Meagan Francis said...

Just found your blog through houseblogs.net--love what I see so far! We live "sort of" in your neck of the woods--St. Joseph, MI, and we live as simply as we can with our five kids. We just bought an old Victorian and are starting the long, slow process of fixing it up. At about 2500 square feet this is by far the biggest house we've ever lived in and we're a bit flummoxed by what to do with all this space. We're also making an effort to live simply/sustainably. Looks like we'd have a lot in common!

Omar said...

Beautifully said.

Karen in Wichita said...

We're kinda the same way. I'd like to say it was intentional, but we've stayed in the Delano Bungalow out of pure inertia up until very recently, when we decided to consciously commit to the house, and the neighborhood that comes with it.

It's contagious, too. Neighbors behind us are contemplating chickens (though we might just co-op the duck coop) and putting in a garden, even though they're renting.

Country Lass said...

Amen Soul Sister - !